July 31, 2013

Why I'm a Romantic (guest post by Ron Vitale)

Have you ever wondered what a man is thinking? Of course you have. It's the standard question for a woman to ask a man: "What are you thinking," right? And what does he say? "Nothin'." Argh. But today, right here on this blog, we finally have the answer to that all-important question that's been burning a hole in every female mind for millennia. Many thanks to Ron Vitale for sharing what romance really means from a male perspective. :)

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Why I'm a Romantic

I'll let you in on a little secret: I'm a romantic. I decided a long, long time ago to embrace life and to live it to the fullest. But on seeing Richard Linklater's most recent film, Before Midnight, I have come face to face with the delusional yearnings of my youth and the hard, cold reality of the present. Bills, arguments, lack of sleep, screaming kids, work upon work, and a whole list of stresses, make me ask: Am I still a romantic and would I recommend others to be the same?

Once Upon a Time

Back in 1992 I graduated with both an English Literature and French degree and thought I'd be a novelist, making my living doing what I love. With a not so great economy, I went on to graduate school and earned my Masters in English Literature. In 1995, while still in graduate school, I met my wife and we've been together for 18 years, 5 months, 4 days and give or take a few hours (we just celebrated our 13 wedding anniversary).

Both of us are extremely creative and over the years we've done some cool things together. We went to France in 1999 and I proposed to her during the last total solar eclipse of the millennium in Reims. Over the years I have worked hard to remain romantic, to keep the spark of our love alive. One time that sticks out in my memory still makes me smile on seeing how her face had lit up. When she came home from a rough day of work, I had taped dozens of business cards to the ceiling with thread. Each card was taped to the back of another and they all had funny and cool sayings on them. As she walked through the room, Pat Benatar's "We Belong" blasted out from speakers. 

In our early years together, I would do cool and exciting things for her and she would surprise me with fun moments and gifts. (One of my favorite gifts she gave me is a bubble frame that has pictures of my son when he was under 2 years of age. Each bubble contains a tiny memory from the picture: A piece of pasta in the bubble pic of the first time he ate pasta with sauce all over his face or a seashell from our trip to the beach). I look back at all of these memories and am so amazed and happy with how great times were. 

Dark Days and the Storms of Life

And then, what happened? Months before our son was born my grandfather died, two months later my grandmother passed on and then another two months passed and my father-in-law was also gone. Three months later my son was born. Both of us knew little, if anything, of what parenting truly meant.

Over the next two years, my wife's grandmothers passed away and between work, stress and raising a kid, there didn't seem to be much time to be romantic any longer. In 2007 our daughter was born and over that time, my wife had lost her job, found another and we worked hard and harder to make ends meet. With lack of sleep from the kids being sick or up, I was irritable. Yelling and fighting took place more often than not and the joy in life just didn't seem to be there any longer. Granted, there would be pockets of fun, but my wife kept asking me: "Why does it have to be this hard?"

I didn't know the answer but started hearing stories of divorce within our own circle of friends or I'd hear my coworkers' similar stories. But I hung in there and then came my dreaded mid-level crisis. When I turned 39 years old, my brain seemed to go into overdrive: I kept wondering what had I done with my life? What ever happened to me writing books? What about going back to Europe? What about other hopes and dreams?

My wife's job made a turn for the worst and the stress in the household was at an all-time high. And here's the secret: Both my wife and I started thinking: "Would it be easier if we separated? What if we got out of all of this and moved on?" All of what we had and all of what we had wanted when we were in our 20s seemed so far away. 

The Journey Is the Destination

Both my wife and I have had thoughts of quitting the marriage and of giving up. We've been honest about it to each other. The stresses of life can be overwhelming. (And I've been told my older couples that the problems we have now in our life will only get more complicated: "Little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems.)

In all the stress, my wife and I had started to tune each other out. It can become so easy to think negative thoughts and to roll your eyes up to the heavens and say: "Here we go. I've heard this all before." We fought, argued, and kept talking.

One day it hit me: I had made a choice a long, long time ago. I chose to love my wife. And each day I choose to do so through both the good and the bad times. I did not know what that meant 18 and a half years ago. I am human and make mistakes. I sometimes say stupid and hurtful things. I sometimes do dumb things. My wife has done and said hurtful things as well. But there's a key lesson that I want to share with you. When I was in Catholic high school, I met a priest who told me that love is "seeing good in someone and actively helping to see that good grow."

That is what I do when I choose to love my wife each day. I am a romantic, but life isn't all about romance. Life is about pain and joy. It's a mixture of both that is so sublime and amazingly wonderful. I believe each of us has a choice to make: To let go and allow the storms of life to wash over us, bending like a tree in the wind, or we break like the old tree that is uprooted from the hurricane. We fall over and give up and separate. I pray that I can always see and to remember the importance of accepting that life is hard. Marriage is hard. Raising children is ten thousand times harder than I ever could have imagined (yet amazingly rewarding at the same time). But in the end, wouldn't it be wonderful to know that we loved, for better or for worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part with the person we once used to see the sunrise with when we were young? That's what I choose each day. And that's what I'm a romantic.

Ron Vitale is the author of the dark fantasy series Cinderella's Secret Diaries who believes in love and its power to transform the world.

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July 25, 2013

Release Day: Over the Edge

Celebrate with me! It's release day for Over the Edge!

Before anyone assumes anything, I should probably make it absolutely clear that there was a lot of research that went into this book (I've never been a high school principal or a telephone actress, for example). And though the lovely Sharen Popov, principal of my kids' high school, helped a lot with brainstorming the scenarios Kat gets herself into, of course Sharen herself would never find herself in the hilarious predicaments we put Kat in. And the person who was my resource for all things to do with being a telephone actress, well, she shall remain unnamed though deeply appreciated. And I'm sure there's a real town named Craigmont, but mine is fictional. Also, no trees were harmed during the writing of this book (admittedly, some will be harmed for the sake of the print edition). There. That should keep everyone in real life out of trouble, yes? Needless to say, Over the Edge was loads of fun to write. I hope you like it, too! :)

New release:

Over the Edge, a romantic comedy from 5 Prince Publishing.

"Susan Lohrer is a bright new talent who is going places."
London Times best-selling author Katie Fforde

"Susan is so funny, she had me howling."
—best-selling author MaryLu Tyndall


Excerpt of Over the Edge

Kat shifted her wrists in the steel handcuffs. Rough, ancient bark pressed against her cheek, and the damp air intensified the resinous tang of the virgin forest. She’d been here since dawn—long enough to be on a first-name basis with Harvey, the Douglas fir. Which, if she let herself consider for more than a minute at a time, was kind of a weird development for a grown woman who had a respectable career. She’d consider it in more depth later. Right now she had enough on her mind.

A gust of coastal wind snatched her hat, and chilly rain plastered her hair to her scalp and trickled down her neck, making her teeth chatter. Nearby, a group of men wielded wrenches on a logging machine that refused to start. One of her students, the school board superintendent’s son, retrieved the hat and plopped it back on Kat’s head.

“Don’t worry,” he whispered, “they’re not going to get that machine going anytime soon.”

Alarm nibbled the back of her mind like a classroom gerbil gnawing a toilet paper tube. “There’d better not be a reason you know that.”

He laughed. “I’m just saying.” Then, calling to his friends, he trotted off.

Kat wondered whether she’d still have her job at the end of the day.

The superintendent had made it clear she’d lose it in a blink if the kids did anything more than show up, and Kat had made them promise not to chain themselves to any trees. So far, all they’d done was text the protest’s breaking news to their friends… unless they’d messed with the equipment before she got here this morning. The thought made her stomach feel like she’d eaten fir needles for lunch. She stared up into the dense boughs radiating from Harvey’s trunk high above her.

“You don’t think the kids wrecked that machine, do you, Harv? I mean, they know my career is at stake here.” Harvey only sighed in the wind, branches waving toward the broken-down machine. Yeah, it had Kat a little worried, too.

She flexed her shoulders, stiff from the hours she’d spent shackled to the tree. She wasn’t against logging; she lived in a wood-frame house and used reams of paper. What school principal didn’t? And the logging industry in Mills Creek fed a lot of families.

In the last few hours, she’d had a chance to reevaluate her reasons for chaining herself to this tree. This was about so much more than the environment. It was about standing up for someone who couldn’t stand up for herself. Or in Harvey’s case, himself. It was about choices that had been taken away from her. It was about the fact that sometimes, no matter how wrong you were, you couldn’t undo what you’d done.

Her goal wasn’t to stop the logging, this community’s lifeblood. It was to protect something beautiful and precious. If she could win this one small battle, do this one small good deed, save just this one tree, maybe it would somehow make amends in her heart for what she’d let happen to her family.

A Jeep rattled up the steep gravel road and pulled off on the landing, followed a few seconds later by a police car. The sun chose that moment to peek through the saturated clouds scudding across the sky as though to mock Kat, and she clenched her jaw.

A man exited the passenger door of the Jeep. His footsteps scuffed on the dirt road. Craning her neck, she peered through slanting late-afternoon shadows, making out only his easy gait and the set of his broad shoulders. Had they brought in a negotiator? He leaned into the police car for a minute, then stood, head down, hands on his hips, like a man bearing a heavy burden.

She almost felt sorry for the guy. She might look like a waterlogged rat at the moment, but he had no idea what he was up against. A tiny smirk crept over her mouth.

Now that this block of forest had been opened up to clear-cut logging, Harvey would have to watch while his family was torn away, one by one. She knew how he felt because the same thing had happened to her, until she had just one family member left. And she and Lacey weren’t even on speaking terms at the moment.

She dug her fingers into Harvey’s sturdy bark. “What am I doing talking to trees instead of making things right between Lacey and me?”

Soft footfalls on the carpet of needles behind her.

She straightened as much as she could. The chain connecting the two sets of handcuffs slipped and pulled her down with it until she had to slump against the tree trunk.

“Kat, what are you doing?” He sounded as exhausted as she felt. Sounded… disturbingly familiar.

That voice. Evan. Here? Memories grabbed her heart and sliced through it like the blade of the nearby feller buncher waiting to chop the young trees from their roots—if the loggers could get it running again. She strained her eyes to the left, looking without turning her head.

Evan was watching her, jaw clenched, rainwater slicking his blond hair.

She blinked the water from her eyes.

He was still there.

Not a gorgeous hallucination. A gorgeous reality. Her pulse whumped in her ears.

What was she doing? That was easy—she was running away from her failure to keep her family together. But what was Evan doing?

“If you can’t figure out what I’m doing, I’m not going to tell you.” She stared straight at Harvey’s unforgiving bark. Nice. Even the tree had given up on her.

The chain slipped downward again, pulling her into an awkward crouch.

Evan laid his hand on her shoulder. His fingers brushed her cheek, heat rushed through her, and she shivered. This was why she hadn’t dated since they broke up the second time. No other guy even came close to making her feel the way Evan did, and when it came to relationships, she couldn’t settle. Too bad Evan was too pigheaded to try to make it work when the going got tough.

“Peg asked me to come talk to you.”

She shot up and hit the end of the chain, jolting her shoulders just about out of their sockets, and plopped to the ground. The spongy earth soaked the knees of her jeans.

“Why? What happened?” There was only one reason Peg Kelly would send Evan five hundred kilometers north to the remote town of Mills Creek, to find her on a cut block another twenty kilometers up a treacherous logging road. “Is Lacey okay?”

She closed her eyes and leaned her forehead on Harvey’s trunk, her heart aching for her kid sister. She never should have sold their house and moved so far away. But when the job came up, she couldn’t rationalize staying in Craigmont. Staying was something a mother might do, but Kat was Lacey’s sister.

Please, let her be okay.

Evan made a sound like he was grinding his molars. “I don’t know.”

He didn’t know or he wasn’t telling her? Her temples throbbed, and the wind crept up the sleeves of the thick flannel jacket under her raincoat until she shuddered with the cold and the wet.

“C’mon, Ms. Cherish, hang in there,” called the superintendent’s son, who might have sabotaged the feller buncher and cost Kat her job. Though, when it came right down to it, Kat was responsible for the actions of her students simply because she hadn’t forbidden them to come.

This had gone too far. It started with the pregnancy and ended with Kat losing her sister and the man she loved. And all Kat’s running away from the truth had gotten her was being handcuffed to a tree and risking her career. She had to stop running from her mistakes.

Besides, her bladder threatened to burst if she didn’t visit a washroom soon.

She closed her eyes and took a shaky breath. Opened them and made eye contact with Billy, the head of the logging crew.

“I’m ready to negotiate.”

A collective moan rose from her students.

Billy hitched up his pants and sauntered over.

“What can I do ya for, Kat?” He grinned, showing off his new false teeth.

She gave him a thin smile. “Leave fifty percent of the trees in the block, and I’ll walk away without another word.”

“Haw, haw.” He shook his head. “We got the stumpage rights to the whole mountain. You can’t win this one. Why don’t you just take your pretty little head back to the school and teach those kids to read and write, and let me do my job. You know we put in more new trees than we harvest.”

Her teeth chattered. “Because these trees aren’t just a bunch of unprocessed lumber. Animals live here, for one thing.” He snorted, and she narrowed her eyes to silence him. “And you know what happened after they logged above the Harrison Creek watershed.”

He opened and closed his mouth. One point for Kat. An entire community lost its sole water supply in that fiasco, and the residents ended up taking a government emergency fund to move their homes and businesses to another location an hour away. The way Billy’s jaw was working, she knew he didn’t want a Harrison Creek incident on his hands.

“I can’t leave half the trees.” He jutted out his lip.

“Twenty-five percent, then.” She glanced at Evan to gauge his mood. He had his hands shoved practically elbow deep into his pockets, and a little muscle beside his mouth twitched. On a scale of one to ten, he was at a seven. Something was definitely up with Lacey, something bad. She had to move this along.

“What do you say, Billy?”

“Twenty percent.” No hesitation.

“Including Har—this tree?” She arched a brow toward Harvey.

Billy spluttered. “You know how many board feet are in that tree?”

She was sure he’d tell her. And she was just as sure she’d take his next offer so she could get back home to her sister. She never should have left.

“Twenty-five hundred. I like you, Kat. Everybody does. But you can’t go interfering with the livelihood of half the families in Mills Creek. No can do.”

“Ten percent, and you leave this one.” She pointed. The gesture fell flat when the chain pulled taut after half an inch. She angled her head to indicate the majestic height of the Douglas fir.

Hand to his bristly chin, Billy paced back and forth. She saw his daughter among the group of students. Watching him, waiting with Kat, hoping he’d make a fair choice. Billy’s daughter clasped her hands in front of her heart and stared for all she was worth at her father. He stopped, and his head swung over to where the kids were. The moment he saw his little girl, Kat’s battle was won.

“Ah, hell. We’ll leave ten percent of the trees”—he tugged off his hat and flung it to the ground—“and that one.”

The kids roared and herded around Kat and Billy, and he grumbled and scowled in an effort not to grin as his daughter ran to him and hugged him.

Finally, he recovered his wits enough to ask about the key to the handcuffs.

It was safe, tucked way down in the front pocket of her jeans. Heat rushed up her neck. No way was she asking Billy or any of the kids to go fishing in her pants, no matter how many trees were at stake.

Evan bent his head next to hers. His breath caressed her neck. His unique scent, sawdust with a hint of masculinity, tried to weave its old spell around her. “Where’s the key?”

“Jeans pocket.” Her voice croaked. “Right front.”

“Want some help?” He slid his hand to the front opening of her rain slicker, and his touch, even after so long, made her stomach wrench into a two-stranded knot of awareness and the urge to run.

She couldn’t exactly run, and twenty or so pairs of eyes had homed in on every movement like the sharp gazes of adolescent hawks. She closed her eyes.

“Just get it over with.”

Evan’s breath hissed in, and he pulled back. With minimal contact, he stuck two fingers into her pocket and extracted the key. Then, as the kids began wandering off, somehow having sensed the excitement had passed, he unlocked the left cuff. It sprang open, and the chain clanked to the ground, tugging on her right wrist. He slapped the key into her free hand, sketched a salute to Billy, and marched off to the Jeep.

“Wait.” Kat fumbled with the key, but her cold fingers might as well be sticks. The Jeep engine started. “Wait, would you?”

She finally got the lock open and tossed the second set of cuffs down as she whirled to catch Evan before he could drive all the way back to Craigmont without telling her what had happened to her sister.

As she turned, a grade-A head rush slammed into her. She stumbled. Her foot hit something hard, and she threw out her hands and managed not to fall facedown in the mud.

The idle of the Jeep’s engine sped up as though Evan intended to leave her here not knowing what he’d driven all this way to say.

She bolted upright, swiping her dirty hands on her coat as she sprinted for the Jeep. As she reached it, she banged her fist on the driver’s-side window. Evan rolled it down. “I have to go. You gonna be okay?”

Sure, she’d be okay. She was perfectly capable of saying good-bye to the man she’d loved but couldn’t be with, getting into her car, and driving back to her house to call Lacey.

But that would mean running away from yet another piece of her past. And she realized she didn’t want to run anymore.

Buy the e-book now*:
Amazon UK
Amazon Canada
Barnes & Noble
All Romance

*Print edition will be released at the end of August 2013.

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July 09, 2013

Ever Thought You Could Write a Romance Novel Better Than ____?

I was watching Dumbest Stuff on Wheels again (I know, something's seriously wrong with me), and of course it made me think about writing. Not much doesn't. :)

So many people say they got started writing romance when they read a somewhat poorly written one and thought, "I can do better than that." And so they tried. And the result was invariably not better than that.

I wrote a few stories like that, but fortunately a computer crash obliterated them. Trust me, the world is a better place because of it. I wrote them without training, without any of the tools and equipment that belong in a writer's toolbox, without forethought. They were disastrous! Because...

I wrote just like the people on Dumbest Stuff on Wheels. It's how a lot of people write, at least when they're starting out. (And then they self-publish, which is a disaster beyond the scope of this post.)

But what if people read a poorly written novel and thought, "I would never try to do that... without the proper training and equipment."

Do people ever think that? I mean, this post was sparked by a discussion that went: "OMG, how is it legal for them to air a show like this?" "Maybe it'll stop someone from being stupid." "No, it'll encourage stupid people to do stuff they wouldn't have thought of otherwise." "But it's funny." So maybe nobody would ever think that. After all, I may think it now, but I didn't when I started writing.

Maybe we writers actually need that sense of wonder and confidence that goes hand in hand with "I can do better than that." Because all too soon we turn neurotic and paranoid even while pretending to have that famous, possibly mythical, protective coating of thick author skin.

What do you think? Would we be better off with a lot more preparation going into writing, or is it better to jump in armed with just a truckload of enthusiasm? Perhaps more important: What do you think when you watch Dumbest Stuff on Wheels?


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July 05, 2013

Encore! by Bernadette Marie

What a great year this has been for the lovely, talented Bernadette Marie. :) And here's another re-release, the next book of her hugely popular Matchmakers series: Encore.

If you like contemporary romance with characters so real you fall in love with them, you'll love this series.

Available from 5 Prince Publishing www.5princebooks.com  books@5princebooks.com
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Release Date: July 4, 2013
Digital ISBN 13:978-1-939217-58-5  ISBN 10:1-939217-58-X
Print ISBN 13:978-1-939217-57-8  ISBN 10:1-939217-57-1
Purchase links:
www.5princebooks.com/buy.html (coming very soon)
iTunes (coming very soon)
Amazon (available now!)

Newly unemployed concert pianist, Thomas Samuel has spent
most of his adult life escaping his upbringing. He’s become an expert at hiding
his feelings and remaining professional. But when he meets cellist Carissa
Kendal he’s faced with one emotion he can’t escape—love.
Carissa hadn’t expected her mother to take on the art of
matchmaking and she was convinced she wasn’t very good at it. Strong minded
Carissa had her work cut out for her with the emotionally scarred Thomas, but
love always wins in the end—or does it?
By the time Thomas realizes his past does not define the man
he has become it might be too late. Big venues and scenic places might just win
over the heart of Carissa and take her away from him—unless he hurries and
faces the man who ruined his career and convince Carissa that every
performance, even love, deserves an encore.

About Bernadette Marie:
Bernadette Marie has been an
avid writer since the early age of 13, when she’d fill notebook after notebook
with stories that she’d share with her friends. Her journey into novel writing
started the summer before eighth grade when her father gave her an old
typewriter. At all times of the day and night you would find her on the back
porch penning her first work, which she would continue to write for the next 22
In 2007—after marriage, filling
her chronic entrepreneurial needs, and having five children—Bernadette began to
write seriously with the goal of being published. That year she wrote 12 books.
In 2009 she was contracted for her first trilogy and the published author was born.
In 2011 she (being the entrepreneur that she is) opened her own publishing
house, 5 Prince Publishing, and has released her own contemporary titles. She
also quickly began the process of taking on other authors in other genres.
In 2012 Bernadette Marie began
to find herself on the bestsellers lists of iTunes, Amazon, and Barnes and
Noble to name a few. Her office wall is lined with colorful PostIt notes with
the titles of books she will be releasing in the very near future, with hope
that they too will grace the bestsellers lists.
Bernadette spends most of her
free time driving her kids to their many events—usually hockey. She is also an
accomplished martial artist with a second degree black belt in Tang Soo Do. An
avid reader, she enjoys contemporary romances with humor and happily ever

Author Contact Info:
@writesromance on Twitter

EXCERPT of Encore:

Chapter One

Her young student pulled the bow across the strings of the
violin, and the sound was pure evil. Carissa Kendal winced, then quickly
smiled. She’d get it in time. Eventually, they all got it if they stuck around.
The dropout rate of students was the one dark cloud over her
next venture, the Kendal School of Music. It had been her dream to teach music
in her own school, and she was about to dive into it. She’d hoped her mother
would want to be by her side more, but Sophia still had Hope to raise. Carissa
had accepted that, but to have her mother call up an old friend to help her
wasn’t settling.
Did Sophia not think she’d look him up? That she wouldn’t
find out who he was?
At the moment, he was nobody. Every musical endeavor he’d
pursued in the eight years since the renowned tenor Pablo DiAngelo’s ensemble
broke up had failed spectacularly.
Why was Sophia soft on him? Her mother’s name carried far
more influence than that of the failed pianist, and it would have given
Carissa’s music school all the prestige it needed.
The student pulled another evil note and snapped Carissa
from her thoughts.
“I’m never going to get this,” the young girl complained
with her nose wrinkled.
“You will. If you want to, you’ll get it.” She smiled
encouragingly, remembering when she’d been that young girl. “You need to
remember to practice the material I give you.” Carissa raised her eyebrows with
the subtle demand.
“Okay. I promise I’ll be better next time.”
“And if you practice, that will always be the case.”
As her student gathered her instrument, Carissa marked off
her lesson sheet and handed it to her.
They left the study of the old boardinghouse, where Carissa
lived with her grandmother, and stood by the door as her student’s mother
walked toward them. Carissa gave the girl a squeeze on her shoulder.
“She’s doing wonderfully. A little extra practice each day
will help,” she said. “Don’t forget your peppermint on your way out the door.”
The young girl fished in the bowl for the right piece of
candy as Carissa opened the front door. The violinist’s mother handed Carissa a
check for the lesson.
“Thank you, Carissa. She enjoys her lessons very much.”
“I’m pleased to hear that. We’ll see you both next week.”
As the woman and her daughter descended the front steps, a
man paid a cab on the street in front of the old house. He stood with his
suitcase in his hand and looked her way.
He was tall and too thin for her taste, but he looked almost
regal in the way he carried himself. He removed his sunglasses and stroked the
wisps of dirty blond hair from his eyes. She almost didn’t recognize the man
from the pictures she’d seen on the Internet.
He looked like a blond Jimmy Stewart, and her stomach did a
little flip.
“Hello,” he called as he neared the house. She smiled
despite her misgivings. He even walked like Jimmy Stewart.
Like most of Pablo’s ensemble, he’d always walked behind the
man with the million-dollar smile, never next to or in front of him, not like
her mother who had been paraded on Pablo’s arm. It was no wonder she hadn’t
recognized him.
She extended her hand to him, and as his fingers enclosed
hers, she gulped in air. He was strikingly handsome. She hadn’t expected that.
To have played for Pablo, as Sophia had, Thomas had to be
tremendously talented. Yet would the curse that hung over his career affect her
music school?
“You must be Thomas Samuel. I’m Sophia’s daughter, Carissa
Kendal. I’ve heard a lot about you.”

When Sophia Kendal had said her daughter would meet him at
the boardinghouse in Kansas City, he hadn’t expected she’d look like the woman
standing before him. The woman before him stood erect as a dancer. Her hair
fell to the middle of her back like an ebony waterfall, and her dark eyes were
soft. She wore a flowing, orange blouse and a long skirt of the same orange,
mixed with earthy browns that swirled around her calves when she moved.
She was mesmerizing.
“Please come in.” She stepped back through the door. Heat
rose on the back of his neck as he passed by her. “My mother says you’ll be
staying with us until you get settled.”
“Uh. Yes.” He felt like his tongue had swollen. “I’m sorry
if I seem out of sorts. I knew Sophia for so long that to think of her as your
mother, well, that’s a stretch for me.”
Carissa smiled at him again. “I was seventeen before she
adopted me, so I can understand. I’m sorry you couldn’t make it out for their
“Yes, so am I.” Had he made that wedding, he’d have made it
his business to become more familiar with the dark beauty who, with the most
subtle gesture of tucking her hair behind her ear, had his pulse climbing.
Guilt halted his thoughts. He should have been at the
wedding because he’d promised Sophia he would be. It was just another broken
promise, and he feared he would let her down again. And given his past, he had
no business fantasizing about Carissa—or any woman. It could end only in
heartache—or worse.
~ ~ ~

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July 02, 2013

Win an Autographed Copy!

A quick giveaway! Pop over to Goodreads and enter to win an autographed copy of Rocky Road (Canada and US).

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Legal Stuff

Susan is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and the Amazon.com.ca, Inc. Associates Program, affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.

Translation: if you click on one of my Amazon links and then shop at Amazon, I may earn a few extra cents. Maybe even enough cents to buy an entire doughnut hole. :)